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Ask the Expert Archive

What is the Best Method to Clean Produce Before Eating?

 

Q, What to use to wash fruits prior to eating ?

 

A. All fresh produce should be washed under running water before eating, even if you don’t plan to eat the skin, such as melons and oranges. Germs can be passed to the flesh when cutting. Wash the produce just before you plan to use it, not when you put it away. One exception is lettuce, which can be rinsed before refrigerating so that it will stay crisp. Cut away damaged or bruised areas, and remove outer leaves or rinds. Produce that looks rotten should be thrown out. Scrub firm produce like potatoes, carrots, cucumbers and melons with a produce brush to remove dirt. Dry with a clean cloth or paper towel.

 

To wash leafy greens, first cut off the stems and throw out any bruised leaves. Wash the greens in a clean sink or large bowl full of water to remove dirt and sand. Swish the leaves around in the water to help remove sand and dirt. Greens that are very sandy may need several washings – repeat until the water is clear. When clean, remove the leaves and place in a colander or pat dry with a clean towel.

 

For grapes, wash clusters under a gentle spray of water just before use, drain, and pat dry.

 

The best way to wash berries is with a kitchen sprayer. Use a colander to gently turn the fruit as you spray. If you do not have a sink sprayer, place berries in a colander into a large pot of warm water. Move the basket in and out of the water several times. Change the water until it runs clear. Do this quickly to prevent loss of flavor and texture.

 

 

 

 

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The Expert: Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RDN, is the President and CEO of the Produce for Better Health (PBH) Foundation. At PBH, she guides the Foundation’s efforts to advance the overall effort of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption.
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